Brothers and sisters:
The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
Psalm 69:29-30, 32-32, 35
But I am lowly and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Let the oppressed see it and be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the needy,
and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah;
and his servants shall live there and possess it.
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
A fairly recent practice called, paying it forward, is popular in our culture. It means that if we have benefitted from some good deed or favor, we perform a good deed for someone else as a way to express gratitude. Random Acts of Kindness, are also a part of good deed doing that, while very nice, is not exactly the same thing as being a good Christian.
Being a good Christian means so much more than paying it forward or being kind when we feel like being benevolent. The Gospel message tells us to seek out those who are in need and treat them with compassion. Care for the poor and the less fortunate should find some priority in our time, our efforts, and our resources. Our lives are not to be lived for ourselves alone but for the good of the community as well.
Being a servant of God means that we are always waiting and watching to obey the Holy Spirit and not obeying our own whims or feelings of generosity. And we do not do good to feel self-satisfied about our accomplishments which is a kind of reward and can lead to pride. But we keep before our minds the joy of our salvation knowing that we are sinners who have been promised the tremendous gift of eternal life. We are not trying to make followers or even friends, but we do what we do for God because He desires that all men come to find Him and know Him.
As Christians, we don’t want to keep a count of our good deeds or our sins. We want to be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. It is a gift to know that God remembers what we do in His Name and that we can so easily be counted among the righteous by obeying His Word.
Today, consider the ways you can be a blessing to someone who needs food or shelter, medicine, or community. It is not only an investment in a person’s life, it is also an investment in your own eternal life.